Fuel suppliers

Compliance with the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000

Fuel suppliers have a significant role to play in ensuring fuel supplied in Australia meets the fuel quality standards and the expectations of Australian fuel consumers. For this reason, fuel suppliers have a number of important responsibilities and obligations under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 (the Act) and the Fuel Quality Standards Regulations 2001 (the Regulations).

Fuel Standards

If you supply fuel to another person you must ensure that the fuel you supply meets any fuel quality standard that applies to it. For more information see the fuel quality standards and fuel quality information standards.

Fuel quality standards have been set for:

Fuel quality information standards have been made for:

Documentation

Section 19 of the Act and 7A of the Regulations

If you supply fuel to another person and that person is not the end user of the fuel you need to provide a statement as to whether or not the fuel complies with the standard.

Section 66 of the Act

Operators of service stations must keep and maintain records at each individual site where the fuel is supplied, for a period of two calendar years. These records include delivery documentation, stock reconciliation and fuel testing records in relation to the supply of fuel.

If the relevant records are paper documents, these records must be kept at the premises where the fuel is supplied.

Alternatively, documents may be retained in an electronic format (e.g. a scanned copy of the document). Scanned copies may either be retained at the premises (e.g. on a disc or hard drive) or be readily accessible, upon request by inspectors, at the time of inspection. The electronic equipment required to access and produce relevant records must be kept at the premises.

Ethanol labelling

The Fuel Quality Information Standard (Ethanol) Determination 2003 (labelling standard) sets requirements for labelling petrol containing ethanol.

The labelling standard applies to all ethanol blends. An ethanol blend is petrol containing more than 1% ethanol. The fuel quality standard for petrol limits the amount of ethanol in petrol to 10%.

When you receive ethanol blended fuel supplies from your fuel distributor, you should also receive documentation from them stating that the fuel contains a certain percentage of ethanol and that the fuel is subject to the labelling standard.

If you receive fuel which you know contains ethanol and there is no ethanol statement on your delivery documents please contact us at fuel.quality@environment.gov.au or 1800 803 772.

It is an offence to supply fuel that contains ethanol that does not comply with the relevant labelling standard.

Ethanol E85 labelling

The Fuel Quality Information Standard (Ethanol E85) Determination 2012 (labelling standard) sets requirements for labelling E85. The new Ethanol E85 fuel quality standard, commencing 1 November 2012, requires E85 labelling on fuel pumps dispensing E85. The label must clearly display on each pump dispensing E85 the words 'Contains 70-85% ethanol. Not Petrol or Diesel' OR 'Contains x% ethanol' and 'Not petrol or diesel’ (where x is a number between 70 and 85)'.

Annual Statements

If you produce and supply fuel or import and supply fuel in a calendar year, and that fuel is subject to a fuel standard, you are obliged to provide an annual statement to the Australian Government containing information on the supply and quality of the fuel (Section 67 of the Act).

Fuel Testing Program

The department runs a fuel testing program to monitor the quality of fuels sold in Australia and ensure compliance with the Act and Regulations. This program samples fuel throughout the fuel supply chain, including at service station forecourts.

Offences

A number of offences exist under the Act that apply to a constitutional corporation or a Commonwealth entity or a person who supplies fuel in the course of constitutional trade or commerce.

Please note the Act also contains similar civil penalty provisions for most of the offences listed below. This means that a person may be penalised for contravening a provision of the Act without the need for a criminal conviction.

For complete information on offences and civil penalty provisions please see the full text of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 and the Regulations.

Supply of non compliant fuel

It is an offence to supply fuel in Australia that is the subject of a fuel standard or an approval to vary that standard, if that fuel does not meet the standard, or the standard as varied (Section 12 of the Act).

Supply of fuel contrary to a fuel quality information standard

It is an offence to supply fuel in Australia that is the subject of a fuel standard or an approval to vary that standard, if that supply of fuel does not comply with the fuel quality information standard, or the standard as varied (Section 12A of the Act).

Contravening conditions of approval by holder of approval

It is an offence if a holder of an approval to vary a fuel standard or a fuel quality information standard (or other person regulated by the Act), takes an action or omits to take an action, if the holder knows that the action or omission contravenes the condition or is reckless as to whether or not the action or omission contravenes a condition of that approval (Section 18 of the Act).

Supply of fuel without the right documentation

Where a person supplies fuel in Australia to another person (who is not the end user) and the fuel is the subject of a fuel standard, the supplier must within 72 hours of supplying the fuel, provide the other person with documentation containing a statement as to whether or not the fuel supplied complies with the applicable fuel standard and any other information relating to the fuel that is prescribed by the regulations (Section 19 of the Act).

Supply of altered fuel

It is an offence to alter fuel in Australia that is the subject of a fuel standard or an approval to vary that standard, if the fuel is altered with the intention of using it in Australia, and the fuel as altered does not meet the standard which applies to that fuel. (Section 20 of the Act)

Supply and importation of prohibited fuel additives

It is an offence to supply a fuel additive in Australia or to import a fuel additive into Australia if the fuel additive is covered by an entry in the Register of Prohibited Fuel Additives (Sections 30 and 31 of the Act).

Refusal or failure to answer question

It is an offence for a person to refuse or fail to comply with a requirement by an inspector who is authorised to enter premises by a monitoring warrant. An inspector may require any person in or on the premises to answer any questions put by the inspector; or to produce any book, record or document requested by the inspector (Section 42 of the Act).

Failure to keep and maintain records

A person who supplies fuel in Australia that is the subject of a fuel standard must keep and maintain records in relation to such supplies in accordance with the Regulations. Records must be kept at the premises where the fuel is supplied, for each calendar year for fuel that is supplied in Australia in the year and must be retained for two years (Section 66 of the Act).

Failure to provide an annual statement

A person who produces and supplies fuel in Australia that is the subject of a fuel standard must provide an annual statement for the year by 14 February in the following year or any later day allowed by the Secretary of the department. The statement must be in a form approved by the Secretary; contain any information required by the Secretary; and be provided to the Secretary in accordance with the Regulations (Section 67 of the Act).

Infringement Notices

When a fuel quality inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an offence under the Act; or a person has contravened a civil penalty provision; the inspector may give the person an infringement notice relating to the offence or contravention.

The infringement notice must be given within 12 months after the day on which the offence is alleged to have been committed, or 12 months after the day on which the civil penalty provision is alleged to have been contravened.

Injunctions

If a person has engaged, is engaging, or is about to engage, in any conduct that is or would be an offence against the Act; or a contravention of a civil penalty provision; a Court may, on application of the Minister or any other aggrieved person, grant an injunction restraining the person from engaging in the conduct (Section 65 of the Act).

Enforceable Undertakings

The Secretary of the department may accept a written undertaking given by a person if the Secretary considers that the person has committed an offence against, or contravened a civil penalty provision of, the Act. If the Secretary considers that a person who gave an undertaking has breached any of its terms, the Secretary may apply to a Court for a Court Order. A Court Order may include such things as a direction to pay to the Commonwealth an amount up to the amount of any financial benefit that the person has obtained directly or indirectly and that is reasonably attributable to the breach (Sections 65T and 65U of the Act).

Civil Penalties

Within 6 years of a person (the wrongdoer) contravening a civil penalty provision, the Minister may apply to a Court for an order that the wrongdoer pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty (Section 65A of the Act).

A person must not: aid, abet, counsel or procure a contravention of a civil penalty provision; or induce (by threats, promises or otherwise) a contravention of a civil penalty provision; or be in any way directly or indirectly knowingly concerned in, or party to, a contravention of a civil penalty provision; or conspire to contravene a civil penalty provision. The Act applies to the person as if the person had contravened the provision (Section 65B of the Act).

Criminal Offences

If a person is found guilty of an offence under the Act, the Court will impose a penalty between 60 and 2,500 penalty units.

Offences and penalties
Offence/Civil Penalty Offence provision Offence penalty (penalty units) Civil penalty provision Civil penalty
Individual
(penalty units)
Civil penalty
body corporate
(penalty units)

Supplying fuel that does not comply with fuel standards

12

500

12AA

500

2 500

Supplying fuel that does not comply with fuel quality information standards

12A

60

12B

60

300

Contravening conditions of approval

18

100

18A

100

500

Supplying fuel without documentation

19

60

19A

60

300

Altering fuel the subject of a fuel standard

20

500

20A

500

2 500

Supplying a fuel additive

30

250

30A

250

1 250

Importing a fuel additive

31

250

31A

250

1 250

Refusing to comply with inspector on premises under monitoring warrant

42(2)

Imprisonment for 6 months

N/A

N/A

N/A

Failure to keep and maintain records

66

60

66A

60

300

Contravention of annual statement requirements

67(5)

60

67(7)

60

300

Fuel industry

The fuel industry encompasses fuel manufacturers and importers and groups representing fuel suppliers or those with strategic or economic links within and for the fuel industry.

Approvals to vary a fuel standard

Further information